TEL AVIV (Apr. 16)
Gen. Raphael Eytan, a 45-year-old paratroop commander, assumed command of Israel’s northern front yesterday, replacing Gen. Mordecai Gur whose appointment as Chief of Staff became effective at midnight Sunday night. Eytan was born in Tel Adashim, a Hashomer Hatzair settlement in the Jezreel Valley. His military career closely paralleled that of Gur. He joined Palmach at the age of 17, participated in Israel’s war for independence, volunteered for the army’s first paratroop unit and fought at the Mitla Pass in the 1956 Sinai campaign.
Eytan commanded a paratroop brigade that pierced Egyptian lines and reached the Suez Canal in the 1967 Six-Day War. He was severely wounded in that campaign but recovered and has since held senior command posts. During the Yom Kippur War he commanded a division that helped contain the Syrian attack on the Golan Heights and drove Syrian forces back to the outskirts of Damascus.